Food Combos To Get More Nutrition Out Of Every Meal

food, food synergy, health


Food Combos To Get More Nutrition Out Of Every Meal

Written by: Kavata Kithome

Here is a little known fact about me: I love food. If I was not a health coach, I probably would be a chef. I have always been fascinated by food, to me food is the epitome of creation. There are so many vibrant colors to choose from, each with the gift of nutrition your body needs to be healthy.

As the health conscious person you are, I am sure that you already eat healthy – you make decisions every day to help maintain and maximize your health.

But what if I told you that your can take it a step further? What if you could maximize the nourishment you are getting out of whole foods?

You can do this by creating food synergy (this is when 2 or more foods are combined in a meal to increase absorption).

By coupling different types of food, you increase the bioavailability and increase nutrient absorption, which is great for the body on a cellular level. Food has become even more fascinating to me as a health coach, simply because I am able to elevate my food to the next level by understanding what works best and what is also delicious at the same time.

Here are 5 different food combinations that may surprise you and because I love you so much, I will provide some of my favorite recipes as well.

#1. Turmeric And Black Pepper

The internet is saturated with posts about the amazing magic of turmeric, I am sure this one comes as no surprise, but it is a worthy mention. The inflammation-fighting property found in turmeric called curcumin is enhanced and more readily absorbed when combined with black pepper.

Lemon Ginger Turmeric Tea
Serves: 2
  • 1 ½ tbsp fresh ginger, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp fresh turmeric, thinly sliced
  • Juice of ¾ lemon
  • 16-20 oz of water (4-5 cups)
  • Optional: honey for sweetness
  1. Add water to a teapot or sauce pan, cover and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let cool for a minute.
  2. Place ginger and turmeric in a tea ball or cloth tea bag and place in a mug. Squeeze lemon juice into the mug. Pour hot water over the top and add honey if desired. Steep for at least 4-5 minutes. You can leave tea bag in while you drink if desired. Allow to cool slightly prior to consuming.
The recipe didn’t not call for pepper, but I like to add 3-5 black peppercorns or ½ teaspoon of grounded black pepper

**Note: If you do not have a tea ball or cloth tea bag, place ginger and turmeric directly into mug, allow to steep covered for 5 minutes and strain into another mug to avoid floating root pieces.

***Note: I like to store mine in a Mason Jar with all the goodness to allow for maximum potency and refrigerate to consume it cold, in the summer time.

#2. Calcium, Magnesium And Protein

When the power of these three nutrients combine, you have great bone health. This is awesome, as it could help protect against possible fractures and other bone diseases.

Here is a great recipe to try from the blog Love and lemons:

Simple Swiss Chard Pasta
  • 6 oz pasta (I used Tinkyada Brown Rice Spaghetti)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 4-5 chard leaves, stems diced, leaves coarsely chopped
  • ½ tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1 cup canned fire roasted diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup cooked white beans, drained and rinsed
  • Shaved pecorino cheese
  • ¼ cup pine nuts, optional
  • Salt & pepper
  1. In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook pasta until al dente.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add chard stems and a pinch of salt. Give them a stir, then add the chard leaves and gently toss until they begin to wilt. Add the balsamic, tomatoes, garlic, white beans, freshly ground pepper and toss.
  3. Once the chard is cooked down, add pasta and remove from heat. Serve with shaved pecorino cheese and pine nuts on top.
I used quinoa pasta instead and mixed the nuts all together.

#3. Fermented Foods, B Vitamins And Minerals

Did you know that probiotic rich fermented foods aid in the absorption of B vitamins and essential minerals and ultimately promote healthy digestion?

Here is a great recipe courtesy of Cooking Blog:

5 from 1 reviews
Roasted Chicken With Potatoes, Arugula And Garlic Yogurt
  • 1 ½ pounds chicken thighs and drumsticks
  • 1 ¼ pounds small Yukon Gold potatoes, halved and cut into ½-inch slices
  • 2 ½ tsp kosher salt, more as needed
  • ½ tsp black pepper, more as needed
  • 2 tbsp harissa (or use another thick hot sauce, such as sriracha)
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 4 ½ tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
  • 2 leeks, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp lemon zest (from ½ lemon)
  • ⅓ cup plain yogurt (do not use Greek yogurt)
  • 1 small garlic clove
  • 2 ounces baby arugula
  • Chopped fresh dill, as needed
  • Lemon juice, as needed
  1. Combine chicken and potatoes in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, whisk together harissa, cumin and 3 tablespoons oil. Pour over chicken and potatoes and toss to combine. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes, or up to 8 hours in the refrigerator.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine leeks, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and the remaining 1 ½ tablespoons oil.
  3. Heat oven to 425 degrees. Arrange chicken and potatoes on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Roast 15 minutes. Toss potatoes lightly. Scatter leeks over pan. Roast until chicken and potatoes are cooked through and everything is golden and slightly crisped, 25 to 30 minutes longer.
  4. While chicken cooks, place yogurt in a small bowl. Grate garlic over yogurt and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. To serve, spoon yogurt over chicken and vegetables in the pan. Scatter arugula and dill over mixture. Drizzle with oil and lemon juice and serve.
I used chicken breast instead

#4. Fats And Vitamins A, D, E And K (Also Known As Fat-Soluble Vitamins)

I recently learned that there are such things as fat soluble vitamins that live in fat within the body. In order for the body to absorb and use it properly, it is best to eat them with a little healthy fat.

Here is an amazing recipe courtesy of Cookie and Kate:

Southwestern Kale Power Salad With Sweet Potato, Quinoa & Avocado Sauce
  • Quinoa And Kale
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 bunch kale, ribs removed and chopped into very small, bite-sized pieces
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1½ pounds), sliced into small, ¼-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • Avocado Sauce
  • 2 avocados, sliced into long strips
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium jalapeño, de-seeded, membranes removed and roughly chopped
  • 1 handful cilantro leaves
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander, optional
  • Salt, to taste
  • Everything Else
  • 1 (14-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1½ cups cooked black beans
  • ⅓ cup crumbled feta, omit for vegan/dairy-free salad
  • ¼ cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds)
  1. To cook the quinoa: First, rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh colander under running water for a minute or two. In a medium-sized pot, combine the rinsed quinoa and 2 cups water. Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, then cover the pot, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Remove the quinoa from heat and let it rest, still covered, for 5 minutes. Uncover the pot, drain off any excess water and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Set it aside to cool.
  2. To cook the sweet potatoes: In a large skillet, warm the olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped sweet potatoes and toss to coat, then add the cumin, smoked paprika and salt. Stir to combine. Once the pan is sizzling, add a scant ¼ cup water, then cover the pan and reduce heat to low to avoid burning the contents. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sweet potato is tender and cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  3. Uncover the pan, raise the heat back to medium and cook until the excess moisture has evaporated and the sweet potatoes are caramelizing on the edges, about 3 to 7 minutes (add another little splash of olive oil if the potatoes start sticking to the pan). Set aside to cool.
  4. To prepare the kale: Transfer the kale to a large mixing bowl. Sprinkle the chopped kale with salt and use your hands to "massage" it, which improves the flavor. Just grab handfuls of kale in your hands and scrunch it up in your palms. Repeat until the kale is darker green in color and more fragrant. Whisk together 2 tablespoons olive oil, the juice of 1 lime and ½ teaspoon salt. Drizzle over the kale and toss to coat.
  5. To make the avocado sauce: Simply combine the ingredients as listed in a food processor or blender. Blend well and season with salt, to taste.
  6. To toast the pepitas: In a small skillet over medium-low heat, toast the pepitas, stirring frequently, until they are turning lightly golden on the edges and starting to make little popping noises, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  7. Once the quinoa has cooled down a bit, pour it into the bowl of kale and toss to combine. Divide the kale and quinoa mixture into four large salad bowls. Top with sweet potatoes, black beans, a big dollop of avocado sauce and a sprinkle of feta and pepitas.
I am not a fan of cheese, so I always omit the feta.

There are so many recipes out there that incorporate food synergies, I am sure you are probably intuitively and instinctually pairing your foods and already enjoying the benefits of maximum absorption. Do you have any food synergy recipes? Please share with us in the comments below!


Kavata Kithome
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Kavata Kithome

Health Advocate at One More Step
Kavata Kithome is an advocate for living your best life, full of health and longevity. While working closely with gym owners and personal trainers, she was able to sculpt a well-rounded view of fitness and understands how to incorporate it with a healthy balanced diet. She is a regular contributor to the One More Step Lifestyle brand.
Kavata Kithome
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